Haramaki in a Winter Wonderland

December 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm 2 comments

When I lived in Chicago and New York, December meant freezing temperatures and bundling up in lots of layers. I wore hooded sweatshirts, thick coats, mittens, and even that ubiquitous ’80s staple, legwarmers.

In Japan, you have another option when the weather turns frigid: haramaki, and it’s totally tubular (last ’80s reference, I promise). Haramaki wraps the center of your body in a soft tube and keeps your belly warm, over or under your clothes. You can also wear it as part of your pajamas.


The theory is that if you keep your middle cozy, you’ll prevent heat loss from your extremities, because they’ll no longer be competing for distribution of warmth. The extra comfort, circulation and support for the lower back is especially good for pregnant women, but haramaki were originally worn by Samurai as part of their armor, to protect their kidneys!


In the last year or two, haramaki have cast off unflattering comparisons to “granny panties” and been transformed into a fashionable accessory available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and styles, with or without pockets. My favorite is the tartan with matching blanket, but I may have to settle for making one myself (see how here).

Sarah S.

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December 2008


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